Randolph, Jeanne


Public Lecture 
Friday, August 14, 2009,  8pm
Commissioned Text released September 2009

photo credit Michael Edwards

photo credit Michael Edwards


My Manufactured Life is a two-part meditation upon the self-contradictions, paradoxes and absurdities of  our  social attempts to keep clear the very ideas of Natural and Manufactured. For her performance/lecture and subsequent commissioned text for the N&M 2009, Dr. Jeanne Randolph enacts a personal response to the idea that natural things are inherently friendly or beneficial and that manufactured things are somehow suspect. Using images from her vast slide library, Randolph points out that these “things” mean not only necessary or luxurious objects, but  also events, incidents and ideas.  In keeping with her life’s work as a writer, performance artist and psychiatrist, Dr. Randolph disfigures and transforms psychoanalytic theory to undertake a kind of cosmetic surgery upon the ideas of “natural” and “manufactured” that need not only a makeover, but a renovation and reinvention of their underlying structure.

PROJECT TEXT: Jeanne Randolph’s commissioned text, A Concise Summary of My Manufactured Life, is posted here.



JEANNE RANDOLPH is one of Canada’s foremost cultural theorists, having been writing, publishing and lecturing for over thirty years. She is the author of four books, all published by YYZ Books, Toronto: Psychoanalysis and Synchronized Swimming (1993);Symbolization and Its Discontents (1997), Why Stoics Box (2003), and recently The Ethics of Luxury (2008). She is also the author of countless published articles in Canada and the United States, and has contributed texts to numerous monographs and exhibition catalogues for artists including Fastwurms, Vera Frenkel, Robin Collyer, Elizabeth MacKenzie, Bernie Miller and Ian Carr-Harris. Her pivotal essay “The Amenable Object,” (1983) remains required reading in many university art courses.

Her writing is marked by an innovative approach to her chosen subject, a deeply ethical philosophical meandering that blends cultural theory and art criticism with personal history and a poetics of the imagination. A practicing psychoanalyst, Dr. Randolph is also known as engaging lecturer and performance artist whose unique vocal soliloquies–ranging from cat curating to architecture to boxing to Barbie Dolls to Wittgenstein–have been delivered in universities and galleries across Canada, as well as England, Australia and Spain. Randolph is the first and only writer in Canada to develop an Object Relations psychoanalytic theory as a medium for cultural criticism.